Monday, November 12, 2012

My ancestor - Elizabeth Kemmish part I

SouthSea - home of my ancestors
When I was nine years old my grandmother took me to a nursing home to visit her mother. My great grandmother, (little grandma as we called her) was frail and unresponsive. She was short and had thin, short snow white hair.  My grandmother told me that she would not understand me if I spoke to her, but that I should touch her hands.

"She will know you love her when you hold her hands. She cannot understand you, but she will feel your touch."

I looked at my great grandmothers hands. Her skin was transparent, wrinkled and thin. I never did touch her hands.

A few years later my great grandmother died in Washington State. Her funeral was uncomfortable. The minister talked about her life and my grandmother was upset because he got a few things wrong. Then an old man got up and started to sing horribly. I mean - that singing was really, really, really bad. Me, my sister and our cousin Vincent started laughing at what a bad singer this man was. We were children, and controlling our urge to laugh at that moment was unbearable.

My grandmother was devastated by the loss of her mother. She took post mortum photographs.  She said that of all the death and loss in her life, the loss of her mother hit her the hardest. My grandmother told me that her mother was deeply religious, but also suffering from paranoia all her life. They were poor...very poor. Marie did not own a pair of shoes until she married.

Queen Victoria 1837
This blog is not about my great grandmother. Instead, I am going to write about her grandmother, this is my three times great grandmother Elizabeth Kemmish. Elizabeth was born on a Monday, April 17th, 1837 in Southsea, Portsmouth, England. She was the second child of Charles and Elisabeth Kemmish, her parents lost their first baby Sarah Ann, one year prior. When Elizabeth was born, England had a new Queen by the name Victoria. Martin Van Buren was president of the United States of America. Charles Dickens is alive and well, publishing Oliver Twist in serial in London.

After Elizabeth came into this world, one year later her little Sister Serrah Jane was born. After Serrah was born, a little brother John came along.

 Serrah Jane died after her third birthday. Elizabeth was about five years old when her baby sister died, she remembered the event and it caused her great sorrow. Serrah is buried in the Kingstown Church cemetery in England.

Elizabeth's little brother born May 11th, 1839 died 1851, at the age of twelve. Elizabeth was fourteen years old when her little brother died. This death in particular caused her a great amount of sadness and grief. Travel journals discussed her melancholy. Elizabeth and John grew up together, ate together, and were only two years apart in age. It makes sense that his death caused her a great amount of sadness.

She did have other siblings who survived childhood. Jane Kemmish (b. 1842). Her mother had two sets of twins. The first set were Peter and Charles (b 1844). The second set of twins Ebrahim and James (b. 1851)
She had a little sister Mary, (b.1846.) Daniel was (b 1848). 
Jane Kemmish, sister of Elizabeth, born 1842

Sunday June 4th, 1837 

On Sunday, 4 June, 1837 an event occurred in Kirtland, Ohio, which determined the fate of many English families. Latter-day Apostle Herber C. Kimball says in his autobiography, " ... the Prophet Joseph came to the Kirtland Temple and whispering to me said, Brother Herber, the Spirit of the Lord has whispered to me,'Let my servant Herber go to England and proclaim my Gospel and open the door of Salvation to that Nation.' The Prophet Joseph sent Herber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, and other missionaries to England. about two months later, the group landed in Liverpool."

1844 - The Conversion To The Mormon Religion

Charles Kemmish
Father of Elizabeth
The year that the first set of twins were born was the same year that Elizabeth's parents converted to the Mormon religion. I would like to know why the family made this decision, especially when they faced opposition from friends and family. A period in the early 1840s when Britain experienced an economic depression, causing much misery among the poor. Elizabeth's father, Charles (see image) was a basket weaver. We know that he was never a wealthy man. In 1839 there was a serious slump in trade, leading to a steep increase in unemployment, accompanied by a bad harvest. The bad harvests were repeated in the two following years and the sufferings of the people, in a rapidly increasing population, were made worse by the fact that the Corn Laws seemed to keep the price of bread artificially high. In 1845 potato blight appeared in England and Scotland, spreading to Ireland later in the year and ruining a large part of the crop. 

My ancestors in Southsea were poor. They lived during a time of chronic economic difficulties. Mormon apostles presented them with an attractive alternative, appealing to them, setting hope for building a Zion in the New World. The Mormons convinced them that they were gods representatives, and satisfied their inner longings that they would find peace in the new religion that other sects were never able to offer them.

From the perspective of an atheist, it is hard to understand how a person could convert to a religion based on several strange tenants. For example, they believe we will all get our own planets and become godlike. They believe Jews lived in America because Joseph Smith read it in a hat, with seer stones helping him translate the ancient language into English. The fact is that there is not a shred of archaeological evidence that Jews ever visited Native Americans. That aside, the new religion and new world brought them hope for a better life.


Elizabeth Kemmish became a member of the Mormon religion when she was ten years old. Her parents already converted, so now they were bringing their ten year old daughter into it. I do not judge them too harshly, given the time and place, they thought that they were doing the right thing. It is still important to understand why people make some choices. Converting to a new religion is a big choice. Moving to a foreign land is also a huge decision. They were certainly brave people. 

1851 - 1853
The Mormons were in Southsea preaching the new religion of Joseph Smith. A lot happened to this family in 1851. The second set of twins were born, and tragedy struck the family. Elizabeth's little brother John died suddenly at the age of twelve. She was fourteen at this point, and plunged into sadness over his loss. Her parents, losing their eldest son, must have also been devastated. Successful contacts with the missionaries developed a desire among the parents to come to America and help build a new Zion. They also wanted to be apart of the main body of the church. When combining all of these factors: the death of their children, economic depression, hunger and the promise of being part of something greater than themselves, they decided to emigrate to The United States of America and help build the Mormon Zion.

Voyage from Southsea to Liverpool

January 23rd, 1853

John had been dead for two years. Elizabeth was about sixteen years old now. It was a Sunday when the ship "Golconda"embarked from Liverpool, England with all the living members of the Kemmish family. He ships roster lists her father's occupation as a basket weaver and her uncle as a baker.

Painting of their ship, the Golconda

The Ship Golconda sailed from Liverpool, on Sunday January 23rd 1853 and anchored at the port of New Orleans on March 26th, 1853. The Captain of the ship was George Kerr. Elizabeth was sixteen years old. She was one of three hundred and twenty-one Mormons who were presided over by Elder Jacob Gates.
Elder Jacob Gates, he knew Elizabeth
and Joseph Smith

The ship left Liverpool, sailed through the Irish channel, crossing Saint George's Channel and then into the great Atlantic. They made their way all the way down to Jamaica, then sailed around Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico. When the ship arrived in New Orleans, a thick fog enveloped the land.

During the voyage a brief storm wrecked the vessel's top three masts. Two emigrants died, two couples were married and four babies were born. One of those babies was born to Elizabeth's parents, Charles and Elizabeth Kemmish. The baby girl was born at pm  February 17, 1853. She was named Eliza Golconda Kemmish. 

An Irish passenger was caught stealing meat, and sentenced by the Captain to a publish beating. The sailors hung him up to third mast for an entire day. A baby died of thrush and was buried at sea. The sailors failed to put enough weight in the box. They had to leave it floating in the middle of the Atlantic. I have to stop and ask myself, did my sixteen year old grandmother see the Irishman beat and hung up from a mast? Did she see a small coffin left floating in the Atlantic?

During the voyage many people were worried about the masts. They spent a lot of time praying for a safe passage to New Orleans. There was one baptism of a Swedish sailor, Erik M. Caste.  

An emigrant by the name of Appleton Harmon kept a journal during this voyage. The entire journal is featured below.

Journal of Appleton Harmon - 1853 - Golcondia

T. 20. We git out tickets receipted in full, & I got several little things for the voyage and some things to take home. Wrote a letter to my wife and and [SIC] enclosed one to Richard Golightly.
Fri. [January] 21[1853]. Went on board of the Golconda, got my berth secured, bought some more things - a set of china, a vest, a carpet, Some linen, &c.
Sat. 22. Went on board of the Golconda again, went ashore to sleep. Wrote several letters.
Sun. 23. Went on board again. The ship hauled out into the river and I slept on board for the first night. Could not sleep well, the berth was too narrow and not long enough.
Mon. 24. Went on shore and got my wife a new dress, a bag full of bread, and a jug of ale, returned to the ship and had to pay a shilling to get on board, then had to climb up the side of the ship by a rope and broke the jug and split the ale, but then I had a bottle of Porter left, so there is no bad luck but there is some small gain. Passed the Medical Inspector. At 3 o'clock p.m. they had a real search for stowaways, found none. We drew our rations for a week, and water for a day. President Richards bid us goodbye and went onshore, and we waited to sail the next tide.
Tues. 25. At about 9 o'clock the tug steamer "Sampson" took us in tow, and at past 10 left us in the Irish Channel. The wind was mild but from a favorable quarter. The Golconda spread her sails to the breeze and moved steadily through the water with but very little motion. Towards evening the wind increased a little, we emerged from the smokey atmosphere of the Mersey, and as we entered St. George's Channel, we felt the motion of the ship was affecting us considerable. Several of the brethren and sisters were seasick and I felt very drab, and before bedtime was vomiting. [p.236]
During the day we carried out an organization for the cleaning of the ship and the good order of the passengers. Elder Jacob Gates being appointed by President S. W. Richards to preside over the Saints on board. His appointment was laid before the Saints and they voted to sustain him. He then chose for his counselors A.[Appleton] M.[Milo] Harmon and C.[Claudius] V. Spencer. John Carmichael was appointed sergeant of the guard with instructions to keep 4 men on watch at a time during each night. William Speakman and William Rostrum [Rostrow] were appointed commissaries to deal out our provisions for us. The passengers were divided into 7 divisions and a captain over each division, whose duty it is to see that cleanliness is observed & to call their respective apartments together for prayers at 8 o'clock at night and morning. Each division was to take their turn in drawing rations of water and cooking &c.
Wed. 26. Several showers. The sea rather rough & many of the passengers seasick. The ship sails well, passed a large ship under full sail. We lost the last glimpse of land about 2 p.m. and it was one of the cought crags [UNCLEAR] of Paddies Land, wind fresh and our yards nearly square.
Thurs. 27. Wind fresher this morning, yards square, the ship rolls very bad, many of the passengers seasick, the cook has nothing to do, showing a sad falling off in appetite. Elder Gates quite sick, myself much better. Met one ship hold coalers (or shoed coulers (colors?) ?) [PROBABLY MEANINGS COLORS OF THEIR FLAG] She was beating towards Liverpool.
Fri. 28. Wind just right. Many of the passengers a little better. We are now passing the Bay of Biscay we must have passed it yesterday or last night. The ship does not roll quite so bad as yesterday. Several of the seasick sisters have been assisted on to the quarter deck today. The sun shines bright and all looks quite pleasant, although during the night it is keen winter weather. In the coaling [UNCLEAR] of the ship at times the bottles, buckets and boxes all get in motion and they really make a racket and [p.237] sometimes 3 or 4 of the passengers get down on deck and slide from side to side. I feel first rate to think that I have got started from home and my seasickness over, and that I have now got my journal wrote up to the present time.
I must here mention (as I have forgotten it in its place) that on the evening of Monday the 24th that I married John [POSSIBLY: William] Petrie to Margaret Yorston as we lay anchored in the River Mersey off Liverpool.
Sat. 29. We passed a ship last night and this afternoon spoke with a Dutch barque. The wind has been very light, the ship not running more than 4 miles an hour. The seasick passengers have been out on deck. The ship has rolled very heavy. At sunset the wind shifted into the west, but still very light.
Appleton Horman
Author of this Journal
Sun. 30. At daylight the ship was running about 8 miles an hour but a trifle out of her course. There is but very little motion to the ship. At 9 o'clock the wind lulled and at 10 we were not running more than 4 knots. 2 sails in sight. The day warm and sun shines. Yesterday afternoon Sister [Ann] Anthony gave birth to a fine son, Orson Watkin.
At 11 o'clock the Saints met on the quarter-deck, meeting was opened and Elder Gates spoke, was followed by C.[Claudius] V. Spencer and myself on subjects calculated to enable the Saints to guard against disease, to stimulate them to good works, to faithfulness, brotherly love, and kindliness to each other. The Saints looked cheerful and lively and feel well. At 2 p.m. the wind freshened to an 8 knot breeze. Passed a barque. 2 more sails in sight. Ship runs steady.
At 7 p.m. three meetings was held in different parts of the ship. I spoke for a short time. The Saints felt well.
Mon. 31. Wind changeable and rather moderate. Weekly rations issued after noon. 4 points out of our course. Breeze fresh. [p.238]
February, Tues. 1. Wind shifted so that we are running 9 an hour on our course. One sail in sight. The motion of the ship a little jerkier than usual. The effect is that many of the passengers had a relapse of seasickness. Sister [Elizabeth] Morley gave birth to a fine son, Ben Orson. I felt quite seasick most of the day.
Wed. 2. Wind fair but moderate. We are now but 12 hundred miles from Liverpool. We shall probably pass the Azores Islands today but to far too the east of them to see them. At 7 o'clock p.m. the Saints met together in the forepart of the hold. Meeting opened by prayer by Elder Speakman. Elder Gates spoke and I followed. The Saints felt well and we rejoiced together. During the day I went with Elder Gates and looked up all the sick people and laid our hands upon them and blessed them and asked the Lord to heal them. The number of them were about six who had not as yet recovered from seasickness. We closed the day with prayer and thanksgiving and prayer and retired to rest.
Thurs. 3. A beautiful morning with a 7 knot breeze. We are now evidently in the trade winds. Wind increased to a ten knot speed and the sea so smooth that we experienced no inconvenience with the motion of the ship. We held a meeting in the second cabin and I spoke to the Saints and was followed by Elder Gates, and then Elder Gates married Francis Peay to Eliza Jane Baker. A good spirit pervaded the minds of the Saints.
A meeting was held in the hold of the ship at the same time.
Fri. 4. Went through our daily routine of eating, drinking, walking on deck with an 8 knot breeze on our course.
Sat. 5. I loaned of Sister Mary Durly [Dearby], twenty-five pounds sterling for [p.239] which I gave her a promissory note to be paid by the first of September 1854, to draw five percent interest after the 1st of September 1853.
Took tea with Elder Gates with a good sister in the steerage. Visited the Saints. Found a good feeling prevailing. The sea smooth, wind as usual. Continue on our course which is west by south, half south.
Sun. 6. During all of last night we were running at the rate of 11 knots an hour. At sunrise slackened a little but at 10 o'clock increased again. Motion of the ship moderate. Yards square.
Irishman was left all day for theft 
One of the Irish emigrants was detected this morning as the thief who stole 14 pounds of ship beef. Complaint was made by the crew to the captain who sentenced him to be lashed in the rigging of the ship. The sailors put him on the crosstree and lashed him to the mizzenmast, where he remained from 10 o'clock a.m. until after dark.
At 11 a.m. the Saints met on the quarter-deck. Elder Gates called on Elder Spencer who spoke for half an hour, and I followed for half an hour more. The Saints rejoiced and felt well. At 7 p.m. the Saints met in 4 places and held meetings where they were generally (or severally) addressed by Elder Gates, myself, John Carmichael and William Rostrum [Rostrow], and finally wound up by praise and prayer.
Mon. 7. The day is fine 2 hours and a quarter west of Greenwich time. Weekly rations issued and I am now going to promenade the quarter-deck.
Tues. 8. Ran 11 knots through the night and 8 through the day. Spoke to the barque the "West Lander" homeward bound. Saw seaweed floating for several hours.
Wed. 3. Ran 9 and 10 knots through the night, 8 through the day. At 3 a.m. Sister Anthony's infant son who was born the 30th Jan. 1853 died with the thrush [A DISEASE CAUSED BY FUNGUS] and was consigned to the deep at 2 p.m., in a pine coffin with a weight at the foot, but it proved too light and carried below the surface and we sailed away and left it floating. I have not felt very well today. I have felt a dizziness in my head and could not take any breakfast. The sea is very smooth and we are in a fair way to accomplish our journey within less than four weeks from the time of our embarkation.
Flying Fish
Thurs. 10. Sailed briskly through the night, say 11 knots. A sail in sight this morning. Occasional squalls through the day but of short duration and very light. The Saints met in three divisions. I spoke after Elder Gates in our division. Rations of pork and butter issued.
Fri. 11. Run at the rate of 13 knots some parts of the night. More moderate this morning. Sea smooth, very little motion to the ship. Saw 2 large fish. Some of the passengers called them grumpus whales. They followed the ship for several miles during the time they would cautiously come to the surface. When Elder Spencer fired at one of them and wounded it when it suddenly disappeared. I have seen several school of flying fish. They are small and nearly white and will fly in the air for several yards at a time. Last night a few unpleasant words took place between our watch and the Irish emigrants who seemed anxious to reconnoiter our division after dark, but all was amicably settled by the presence of the mate.
I must here mention that our ship is commanded by Captain George Kerr who has proved to be a kind obliging person and a gentleman, but prompt and energetic as an officer. Attentive to hear our views of religion but slow to speak of his views of the same. About 5 feet 10 inches high, spare and sandy complexion, and I believe an Irishman by birth. We are now in a warm climate. The passengers are appearing in their summer costumes. The wind generally light but from a favorable quarter. A pleasant warm shower passed over today which lasted for half an hour and washed our deck nicely. I dined with Sister King today. I with Elder Spencer laid hands on a sister who was suffering with dreadful pain in her face. She received immediate relief and was thankful for the ordinance. [p.241]
Sun. 12. About 5 knots an hour is our gait. Saw the 2 large fish following us as before, and several school of flying fish. The sun shines uncomfortably hot on deck and it is worse below. 1 sail sight today ahead of us.
Sun. 13. We are moving today about 4 miles an hour. Met with the Saints on the quarter-deck where they were addressed by Elder Rostrum [Rostrow], Spencer, myself, and Jacob Gates. In the evening the Saints meeting three divisions and were addressed by myself, Jacob Gates and C.[Claudius] V. Spencer. The same sail is still in sight, and another small brig or schooner.
Mon. 14. Speed about 2 miles an hour. Sea smooth as a mirror, while the sun shines intensely hot. We fixed awnings for the sake of the shade of them.
Tues. 15. Nearly standing still this morning. At 10 a little breeze. At 2 o'clock the wind began to blow from the south and we run on north tack until 5 when the aspect of the sky bid fair for a storm and we tacked for the south. Had a light squall at 6. The Saints met at half past 7 in the hold of the ship for a general meeting which was opened by singing and prayer, and I arose and began to speak. At this period I shall record 2 minutes in a squall. The topsails and all above were full set. The top gallant sails were taken in. A little black cloud was seen to windward before I went below. It was so small that it did not excite the caution of the captain further than to order his men to standby the halyards ready to let go. The squall came, the canvas swelled. The ship careened, yielding to the force. She cut through the water like a steamer. The squall forced harder, the foretop mast gave way and seemingly in one simultaneous crash the main topmast and the mizen also came down with a crash!! Crash!!! Crash! Rendering entirely useless 16 sails, leaving [p.242] none but the mainsail, foresail, crogick [UNCLEAR] and spanker. The ship righted, the squall passed and we were laying nearly motionless. The Saints, some of them sighed or shrieked at the crash, but on being told by the watch at the gangway that nothing was the matter only the masts were carried away, we proceeded with our meeting. I spoke sometime on the duties of the Saints and was followed by Elder Gates. The moon shone bright when we came on deck. The crew worked hard until about 12 midnight securing the sails and rigging which hung in a confused mass over the lee of the ship, together with the broken masts.
Wed. 16. There was a stiffish north wind. The sea began to get rough and for want of our upper sails the ship rolled considerably. Many of the passengers were seasick, the crew was busy all day taking in the ship sails, tackle, yerda, [UNCLEAR] spars, &c.
Irish were clearly Catholic by his
description of their prayers. He did
not think highly of them.
Thurs. 17. The crew was busy all day clearing away the rubbish from the decks occasioned by the breakdown, and in making a new main topmast, assisted by the passengers.
The first signs of worship which we had seen in any of the Irish emigrants was after the squall, when they repaired to their apartment and chanted a prayer, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, St. Peter, &c. Counting their beads, scores of them at the same time making a confused noise. This morning Sister Kennish [Kemmish] gave birth to a fine daughter at 1 o'clock. The Saints met in three divisions and were addressed. The ship rolls bad.
Fri. 18. Wind light. Raised the main topmast. Elder Gates quite sick. I worked on the fore-topmast.
Sat. 19. Nearly a calm. The crew raised the main topsail and yard, and prepared to set the fore topmast. Seasick passengers getting well. Passengers caught 2 small fish. Pea soup for dinner.
Sun. 20. The Saints met for public worship on the main deck at 11 o'clock a.m. when I gave a lecture on the subject of our faith, where it was destined to lead us to, and the effect it would have on our temporal enjoyment. Elder Gates and Spencer followed in a few brief remarks when our service adjourned for the day in consequence of excessive heat of the day, wind light.
Mon. 21. Raised the fore topmast. Saw a ship of the weather bow apparently in a crippled condition, her mizen mast gone and main topmast.
Tues. 22. Calm this morning. Ship won't mind her helm. Dolphins following around the ship. Part of the crew bathed in the sea. Got up the fore topsail. Sit 3 stud sails. Got a good breeze in the afternoon and a heavy shower at night.
Wed. 23. Got a good breeze. Spoke a schooner bound to St. Thomas. They asked the longitude when they were told it was 57 X 20 raised the Mizzen topmast. Been seasick today. Sister Sarah Webb gave birth to a son. [WRITTEN AT BOTTOM OF PAGE IS THE NAME ZIBA GOLCONDA]
Thurs. 24. Running 6 knots. Saw 2 sail in the distance. Weekly rations issued last Monday. Extra butter and pork today. Our water is very warm and tastes bad. Don't feel so well today as I should like. Weather uncomfortable, warm. A general good feeling exists with all the Saints as far as I have been able to learn. The Saints met at 8 o'clock for a fellowship meeting.
Fri. 25. Sea quite smooth. At 11 o'clock the lookout from the masthead cried out land, which caused a thrill of joy to run through the passengers. . . .[p.244]
Saw a schooner which sent us along on the rate of 9 miles an hour.
Sat. 26. 9 knots breeze continues the Islands of Montserrat and Guadeloupe were far astern and nearly out of sight.
Sun. 27. Saints met on the main deck for worship and were addressed by Elders [William] Speakman, Die [Robert Dye], and [Jacob] Gates at 11 a.m. Met again at past 3 p.m. and were addressed by myself on the subject of the healing power. Was followed by Elder Spencer on the same subject. Running 10 knots an hour.
Mon. 28. Weekly rations issued. Running 11 and 12 knots an hour. Some of the passengers seasick, although we are running so fast. The sea is not very rough. 2 sail seen.
March Tues. 1. 10 knot breeze. 2 sail in sight, one a brig off to the windward. We run past her. The other a ship before us. At the present time we are nearing her. She has bourn off to the windward and another crossed our path close to our stern. Wind fell to 8 knots.
Wed. 2. Averaged about a 6 knot breeze. Saw several ships - 1 a brigantine crossed our path just before us under full sail. At 4 p.m. we were in sight of the Island of Jamaica. At dark we could see a revolving light at one of its ports.
Thurs. 3. 2 knots. Sea smooth. Nearly a calm. Running along between the islands of Cuba and Jamaica. The coast of Jamaica presents a bold rugged appearance presenting a succession of hills. At noon a white house was seen. 3 ships were running with us a little to our right. Cuba is not in sight. At dark, breeze freshened. Spoke a small schooner. Her captain inquired the course to a neighboring island. Elder Gates preached to the sailors who listened attentively. [p.245]
Fri. 4. Warm day. I remember that this is the day the U.S. President takes his seat.
Sat. 5. I wrote some letters. Last night off the Island of Jamaica.
Sun. 6. Saints met on the main deck and were addressed by Elders Die [Dye], Harris and Mathis. In the afternoon by Elder Spencer and myself. A good feeling prevails in the minds of the Saints. I felt well while speaking.
Mon. 7. About 2 o'clock we entered the Gulf of Mexico. When the captain announced this to us we one and all felt a thrill of joy. We had had a fine passage down the Caribbean Sea and only 500 miles more to the mouth of the river, and a fair wind, that is the wind shifted from the north just as our ship was headed that way. Had we been any sooner we should have had a headwind.
Tues. 8. A fine day and an 8 knot breeze.
Wed. 9. Fine day 5 knot breeze. I feel glad to think we are so near the end of this voyage. Pumping out the fresh water to lighten the ship, that we may get over the bar. The way the dirty shirts get washed today is a caution. All hands elated with the thoughts of beholding the land which we expect will be in the morning--tomorrow. Last night an infant, child of Brother [John] Spriggs died. Its mother died at Liverpool the day of our embarkation.
Tues. 10. About a 2 knot breeze. This is rather dull sailing, especially when we are so close to the shore. At night the wind increased a little. At half past 6 the passengers and crew met on the main deck and I spoke to them for about 50 minutes on the first principles of the gospel. I cannot remember of ever speaking when I felt more bound in spirit. I was glad when I got through and wished I had quit sooner. [p.246]
Fri. 11. This morning we have an 8 knot breeze. It fell away again at 9 o'clock. All are looking for land. At 11 o'clock we got into shallow water. The day is somewhat foggy. The weather warm and sultry. A heavy dew fell last night. Yesterday we saw a large saw log floating upwards of 150 miles from land. It must have come from some river in Texas. A general feeling of anxiety prevails to see the land of America. At 4 o'clock we were in a thick fog. The ship's bell was rung every 5 minutes, and was soon answered by what we soon found to be another ship at anchor. Shortly our lookout at masthead cried out "A ship off the starboard quarter." Soon after another was seen on the starboard bow, and then to north of the lee beam. In a few minutes more wind blew hard enough to settle the fog until the topmast and rigging of ten ships and the lighthouse appeared as though they were rising out of the mist. The scenery was picturesque and grand. The passengers shouted for joy at the sight of land, although it was very low and did not present a very inviting appearance. At 5 o'clock we dropped anchor at the mouth of the river in company with some 10 or 12 other ships which it seems were waiting to be towed up the river. In the evening we heard a steamer. We rattled our bell and shot a skyrocket but they would not come to us, the fog was so thick.
Sat. 12. Thick fog and we are lying anxiously waiting for it to light up that we may get a tug.
Sun. 13. Saints met on the main deck and were addressed by Elder Gates at 2 p.m. Just at the close of the session a pilot came on board and took command of our ship.

Mon. 14. Weighed anchor and sailed to within mile of the bar and came to anchor again. From this point I could count fifty-one ships and 7 steamer-tug boats. One big ship had run on the bar and became a wreck. 5 steamboats were employed taking her lading out of her.
Tues. 15. Wed. 16. Thurs. 17. Fri. 18 We lay anxiously waiting for our turn to come. Yesterday a thick fog hung over us. Last night a shower swept it away. Thursday evening a quarrel took place in the steerage between some boys and some men got to fighting over it. When I was called upon to quiet them. On my arrival they dropped it and I shamed them for their silly acts which ended the matter.
Sat. 19. About 8 o'clock the ship "Jersey" arrived from sea and came to anchor within hailing distance of us with a load of Saints from Liverpool under the Presidency of Elder Holiday, having made their passage in forty-two days. This information we obtained by writing on board and received our answers in the same way, which could be read by the aid of the glass. About 12 miles a steamer tug came and took in tow and went over the bar. They waved adieu as they got underway. From the time we first saw them we supposed them to be Saints, and they knew us to be so by the name of our ship. We were not thoroughly convinced of the fact until they struck up and sung - the hymn (accompanied by a Cornopean) [THIS IS A TYPE OF CORNET] "Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah. Jesus anointed that prophet and seer."
The circumstance of the tugs taking the "Jersey" which had not been more than four hours and passing by us that had been laying anxiously waiting our turn for nine days, created a sensitive feeling in all of us and the captain was really wrathy and said "'Twas dishonorable indeed."
Sun. 20. Early this morning we weighed anchor, hoisted sail and sailed up close onto the bar and came to anchor again. The captain went in his boat to one of the tugs and obtained a promise from them as he had twice before that he should be taken over the next turn but one, but his promise was of no more use than the others.
Mon. 21. This morning the tug "Ocean" one that we had never seen before, came to us and promised to take us at high water. At 12 M. [UNCLEAR] the tug came and hitched onto us and at the same time they gave us some provisions which the captain had telegraphed to New Orleans for a few days previous, amongst which was 2 pounds of potatoes which was a treat to the passengers. We were taken over the bar and had to cast anchor again in the river and wait again. The tardy movement of the drone like acting tugs.
Last night the Saints met in the second cabin and steerage and were preached to by Elder Speakman in the steerage and by myself, Spencer and Gates in the cabin.
Tues. 22. Not knowing how long we should still remain Jacob Gates went on a tug with 2 ships in tow to New Orleans. The ocean steamer "Daniel Webster" came to anchor close by us. Heavy thundershower last night.
Wed. 23. At half past nine o'clock the steam tug "Conqueror"took us in tow with another ship and started for New Orleans. We passed many dwellings and cottages along the riverbank which looked but flat sort of places for the dwelling of men. We assembled the Saints on the quarter-deck where we sung praises to God and offered up to him the grateful (Elder Gates started for New Orleans on a steamer tug.) acknowledgments of our hearts for his preserving mercy over us and that he had permitted us to behold the land of promise. We also invoked his aid and protection for the remainder of the passage. The hearts of the Saints were overflowing with gratitude and thanksgiving for his goodness. We moved a vote of thanks to the captain and his men which was carried by acclamation, also to Elder Gates and his counselors which was carried by acclamation and cheering.
Thurs. 24. This day we passed a great number of sugar and cotton plantations, some orange orchards and the like. The scenery was truly grand! grand! although the land was low and the river kept out by embankments for at the present stage of such the river was on average 3 feet higher than the farms.

About 7 o'clock p.m. we hauled up to Post No. 15 at the lower end of the City of New Orleans, where I set my feet on my own native land again after an absence of about 2 years and 8 months. The passengers after landing walked about the city, returned to the ship laden with fresh bread, butter, eggs, oranges, apples and tropical fruits and sat up to a late hour seeming perfectly elated with American scenery, customs and delicious fruits. Thus the first and most important part of our journey was accomplished and all in good health.
Fri. 25. Elder Gates arrived this morning about 5 o'clock and the town and found our agent and from that to the ship about 9 o'clock. The day was spent in and about the town and shipping in trying to secure a passage up the river but we soon found there would be no steamer leave before the following Monday.
Sat. 26. This day a contract was made with captain of the steamer "Illinois" to take us to St. Louis, Missouri. Cabin passengers $12 a head, Steerage $2.75 extra luggage 25 cents per 100 pounds. The captain made agreement of a cabin ticket to me also to Jacob Gates and C.[Claudius] V. Spencer. Our ship was towed to the upper part of the town today. I had to walk through the town and found that it contained a great many splendid buildings and that a heavy business of wholesaling was carried on. The ladies dress very gay, and gentlemen seem to take pride in a beautiful costume. In fact the appearance of every [p.250] [sic] thing I saw seemed to possess a brilliancy and splendor, carrying a liveliness above that of the cities of England. I felt that it was my father's land and I could not help rejoicing for it naturally came itself.
Sun. 27. I believe that our contract was not finally closed until this day for our passage up the river. Quite an excitement and stir today in consequence of a "Bull" and "Bear" fight which was to be performed across the river. Great crowds of people attended and the victory was given to the bull. This seems to be carrying out the French style of practices, as it is customary to set their greatest holidays on Sunday. This day I spent in walking about the town. I went with Elder Spencer to a public bath where he baptized Erick Post, one of the Golconda's crew, a Swede by birth, who resolved to hear us company to our mountain home and live the life of a Saint and worship the Mormon God. I now come to a close of this volume and do my writing on board the steamer "Illinois" which is in motion and the trembles of the boat is my only excuse for my bad penmanship.
I am now in my native land thinking of my past life has been speckled and wonderful. The prospects before me is one of toil and care, which is destined to teach me of the real practical duties belonging to a servant of God. The watch care of a number of inexperienced Saints to ascend the largest and most dangerous of rivers, and then to cross the Plains of a thousand miles to our mountain home, is what will call for our patience, and, I pray God my Heavenly Father that he will give me faith, patience, and perseverance to enable me to endure all things needful for Christ's sake, while I endeavor to be his faithful and humble Servant,

1 comment:

  1. Nice to read some of the journal of my ancestor Appleton Milo Harmon. He was a hard working and very faithful man and an inspiration to me. He tried hard to be a latter-day saint, and were still trying four generation later.



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